After being shutout last night, the Blue Jays lineup opened the flood gates early on their way to an eleven run barrage of the Phillies
The Blue Jays and Phillies locked horns again for second game of the first leg of their home-and-home series. Toronto sent the struggling RHP Marcus Stroman (5-2, 4.86 ERA) to the mound to try to grab a win before hitting the road, and possibly getting his season back on track. Philadelphia countered with rookie pitcher Zach Eflin, who was making his MLB debut.
After getting shutout last night, Toronto took little time getting on the scoreboard today. After a Josh Donaldson double and a Michael Saunders walk, catcher Russell Martin lined an RBI single to centerfield to push across their first run of the day. It was Martin’s fifth straight game with a run batted in.
The hot hitting Kevin Pillar 407/467/741 over his last seven games lead off the second inning with his fifth home run — 2nd in two games — a solo blast over the left field fence, to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays would add another run to their lead when Donaldson drilled a double — his second of the day — to score Jose Bautista who reached base on a two-out error.
The Blue Jays kept the pressure on young Eflin in the third inning with two more runs off the bat of Ezequiel Carrera, who launched his second home run of 2016 over the right field wall. With the score already 5-0 with 1 out, Toronto would add consecutive singles from Pillar and Devon Travis along with a walk by Bautista to load the bases for Donaldson. The reigning MVP proceeded to deposit his 15th home run, and his fifth RBI of the day in the left field stands to give the Blue Jays a 9-0 lead.
After surrendering a double to Edwin Encarnacion, Zach Eflin’s debut came to a merciful end. The young pitcher took the brunt of the Blue Jays offense on the chin while surrendering 9R, 8ER on 9H (3 HRs) over 2.2 IP. His ERA for his first start sits at a staggering 27.00.
Fortunately, for the Phillies, reliever Brett Oberholtzer provided ate up some quality innings to stem the flow of runs. His 3.1 IP of shutout ball lead Philadelphia into the seventh inning with the score still at 9-0 in favour of Toronto.
Oberholtzer’s replacement Colton Murray would work the seventh inning for the Phillies, and would give up a two-run home run to Encarnacion. The blast was EE’s 16th of the season, and gave him his 55th and MLB leading 56th RBIs on the season.
Stroman surrendered his first hit with 2 outs in the 3rd inning which was erased when Peter Bourjos was thrown out attempting to steal second. Martin has now thrown out 6 of 32 runners attempting to steal, a 18.75% clip.
The Duke graduate would keep the Phillies off the board through five solid innings, but would run into some trouble in the sixth. After allowing a lead off triple to Bourjos — in part to a questionable dive from Carrera — Stroman would allow a double to ex-Jays Jimmy Paredes to get Philadelphia on the board with a run. He would settle in to get the last two remaining outs, and also work his way through the seventh after allowing a solo home run to Cesar Hernandez. His final line of the day 7.0 IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 6K. It’s a start.
With the final score of 11-3 today’s game marked the 5th time the Blue Jays lineup has produced 10+ runs in a game this season, and their 3rd in the past 4 games. Perhaps the offense is waking up, after all.
PLAY OF THE GAME:
Despite being pressed into action after Saunders left the game, Darwin Barney turned in a web gem from short right field off the bat of DH Ryan Howard. He may have gone 0 for 3 at the plate, but he always seems to find a way to contribute.
— Alykhan K. Ravjiani (@AlykhanKR) June 14, 2016
Today’s game ball goes to third baseman Josh Donaldson. His day at the plate would include a 3 for 4 (2 doubles, and his 15th home run) with 5 RBIs — giving him 42 on the season — 3 runs scored, and a walk.
The turning point came in the third inning of today’s game. Toronto’s lineup would turn 2 walks, 2 singles, a double and 2 home runs into a 6 run inning that would blow the game open 9-0 in their favour. With the Phillies only scoring 9 or more runs once this season, it was just a matter of Stroman working his way though the lineup.
NEWS & NOTES:
Toronto’s starting left fielder would leave the game early with the Blue Jays up 9-0 after three innings. It was initially speculated that it could be due to a foul ball hit off his foot in last night’s contest, but Shi Davidi revealed it was precautionary due to right hamstring tightness. A smart play to get him off his feet with a five game road trip on the horizon.
#BlueJays say Michael Saunders removed from the game for precautionary reasons due to right hamstring tightness
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) June 14, 2016
Toronto will head to Philadelphia tonight and hopefully pickup where they left off on Tuesday afternoon. The Blue Jays will send Marco Estrada to the mound, while the Phillies will counter with a familiar face in Jeremy Hellickson.
*Featured Image Credit: genevieve.ducret -flickr- UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.